Malavika’s Mumbaistan: The Art Of The Matter

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Next week will see Isha Ambani Piramal step out for one of her first public appearances after her high-profile wedding. Billed as a ‘Conversation on Private Patronage and Contemporary Art’, and jointly hosted by a magazine and the Reliance Foundation, it will see the young heiress engage in a discussion on the subject, along with fellow panellists at Soho House in Juhu. As is known, the Reliance Foundation has been making silent, but strong strides in the world of art, spearheaded by Nita Ambani. From its leadership role in the Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015, to its support to The Met in 2017, towards exhibitions that explore and celebrate Indian art, and more recently, the launch of the foundation’s ‘Holistic Healing’ public art project at the HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, which Isha helmed, there has been every indication that art, especially in the international sphere, was very much on its mind. Now, with her marriage to Anand Piramal, whose family has been known for its art patronage, there is every reason to believe that the presence of the alumnus of Stanford and Yale at next week’s event is a precursor to many more such initiatives. With her considerable clout, will the art world receive a much-needed fillip and will Mumbai see the opening of many more museums, galleries, artist studios and other art institutions in the coming years? Next week’s discussion on Private Patronage and Contemporary Art is expected to reveal more.

Of Plenaries And Parties

Sangeeta Raghavan with the late SH Raza. (HT Photo)

A series of four exhibitions featuring 20 of its celebrated artists will mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of Gallery Art Musings. Curated by Ranjit Hoskote, the artists featured will include Anjolie Ela Menon, Paresh Maity, Atul Dodiya, Baiju Parthan and Chittrovanu Mazumdar, we are informed. “We will celebrate this occasion through a year- long cycle of exhibitions, collectively titled, The 20th,” says Sangeeta Raghavan, who came on board four years after the gallery had been launched by her mother Shanti Chopra and aunt Kasturi Wadhwani in 1999. “The first event of this cycle will be ‘The Opening Plenary’, an exhibition showing works of 20 artists represented by or associated with the gallery, which will be followed by five periodic exhibitions over the rest of the year, each one featuring four of the participating artists, which will unfold across 2019 at Gallery Art Musings,” she says. Over the years, Raghavan has interacted closely with the art community, many who have been close friends of her family. “I remember how Anjolie was really helpful at the time the gallery began, helping with the design aesthetic,” says Raghavan. “SH Razaji had been a mentor to the gallery with his guidance and support; and Paresh Maity and Jayasri Burman have been with us since our inception.” But what is art without some complimentary cheer and celebration? The Opening Plenary we are informed will be followed by a smart soiree at a tony SoBo eatery. The Opening Party?

The Maharajah Of Gloss

Nicholas Coleridge

When it was announced that Nicholas Coleridge would be stepping down from his role as the Chairman of Condé Nast Britain, after almost two decades with the publishing house in various avatars, including launching its India editions, it was seen as the end of an era for many in the media and publishing world. Coleridge, who is also chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Prince of Wales’ Campaign for Wool and the Gilbert Trust for the Arts, was perhaps the most well-connected publisher in London for many decades, hobnobbing with the likes of Princess Diana, Tony Blair and Elton John. Now, word comes in that Coleridge, also a successful author of many tomes, will pen his much-awaited autobiography titled ‘The Glossy Years- Magazines, Museums and Selective Memoirs’. The book will release towards the latter half of this year and promises to be publishing’s ultimate tell-all. “It’s all here…fashion designers, rockstars, royals, politicians, playboys and toyboys. Feuds, tycoons, heritage honchos, Moscow, Mumbai, mayors, models and maharajahs,” he says. And given that he has made countless friends in India, over his innumerable visits, is every likelihood that there will be more than one delicious story about his close encounters with the country in the book.

Gandhian Peace March

Dr GG Parekh (HT Photo)

Marching shoulder-to-shoulder along with Gandhians, socialists, leftists, Ambedkarites, trade unionists and citizens on the silent peace march to mark the 150th birth anniversary and 71st anniversary of the martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi this afternoon will be the 95-year-old Gandhian freedom fighter and practising medical Dr GG Parekh, one of the organisers of the initiative. The doughty Parekh, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Abdul Ghaffar Khan aka the frontier Gandhi, is the chairman of the Yusuf Meherally Centre, one of India’s oldest rural development centres (they have over 30 schools in Maharashtra and Kutch), and till date publishes the Journal of Democratic Socialism – Janata , a weekly since 60 years. Besides his active participation in political and social initiatives, Parekh, who was implicated with George Fernandes and Viren Shah in the Baroda Dynamite case and spent 18 months in prison during the Emergency, also continues to treat his loyal patients, most of them from the poorest sections of society, in Tardeo, where he has been a practiing GP for over 60 years. “Gandhiji was a victim of an assassin, indoctrinated by an ideology of hatred and communal divisiveness, an ideology that is detrimental to and opposed to the very idea of a secular, democratic, modern India. Again as our nation is faced with a crisis, it’s time to recall the man and his message,” said one of the organisers of this afternoon’s peace march. The march will begin at Mani Bhavan, which had been the focal point of the Mahatma’s political activities in Mumbai when he visited the city, and will culminate at August Kranti Maidan, from where he had so famously ordered the British to leave India.